Saturday, 8 February 2014

Gotham After Midnight: A Feast For The Eyes, But Not For The Soul

A Review By: Amelia
Batman is my favourite superhero–anyone who has read any of my previous reviews knows that–and I’m always looking for new and interesting Batman comics to jump into. Gotham After Midnight is a comic that’s been on my shelf, unread, for years that I finally decided to sit down and read. Although not as enthralling as some other Batman pieces it still had its charms.

Gotham After Midnight is about a new psycho is terrorizing the streets of Gotham. He goes by the name of Midnight and he’s killing in the name of his own warped sense of justice all the while recruiting other villains and pushing Batman to the brink of his being.

The author of Gotham After Midnight is Steve Niles who has co-created 30 Days of Night, its sequel, and the Criminal Macabre series. His artistic partner in this piece was Kelley Jones’ who has lent his talent to pieces such as Aliens, Deadman, Conan, and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

Now, like all good Batman comics, Niles and Jones wrote and drew Gotham After Midnight with a wide array of many of Batman’s greatest enemies–Joker, Scarecrow, and Killer Croc just to name a few. In addition to the regular cast a new character named Midnight makes his debut and he’s a pretty creepy character. His face is hidden under a veil, his glowing red eyes the only things that are visible, and his trademark is ripping out or staking through people’s hearts. Unfortunately the many characters, both old and new, are not put to good use. They come in quickly, perform some trivial act of destruction and/or mayhem, and then leave just as quickly. It’s disappointing and pretty anticlimactic for a Batman comic.

A technicolor dream of a comic!
The art style in Gotham After Midnight is very unique. It’s minimalistic and has the feel of first-draft sketch about it with very little detail in the faces of people. The angles and lines are very irregular and haphazard in their appearance too. However, at the same time as being minimalistic, it also has an insane amount of detail. The creases in people’s clothing, how Midnight’s face appears in everything from spilled liquid to the scarred face of the moon. But what stands out most in Gotham After Midnight’s art is its colouring. It is absolutely fantastic! All in all, the art may be a little off putting at first but, on the whole, it really lends itself to the erratic and chaotic story line.

The detail is staggering
Gotham After Midnight is a good Batman comic. The story is a little weak in comparison to say Batman Hush, or Superman Red Son, it it’s still original. Likewise, the art style may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s unique, the colouring gorgeous and it fits the story’s plot well–much better than a hyper realistic style of art would have. The only thing that’s truly awful about this piece is the dialogue. It’s clunky and unresponsive and just plain awkward in some spots.

My final thoughts on Gotham After Midnight are that it’s pretty good–a six out of ten stars. The art style, which had initially put me off, was what made this piece so good in the end. The plot is shaky and rushed near the end, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. At the very least it’s beautiful and comic books are 70% art after all!

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